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The Anti-Frackers Return


From the Morning Memo:

Last year, for the first time in a long time, the highly energized and organized anti-fracking movement gathered in Albany on State of the State day to cheer – rather than jeer – Gov. Cuomo.

After years of protesting the governor in hopes of pressuring him to reject the controversial natural gas drilling method in the Marcellus Shale, advocates instead “demonstrated” to show their appreciation for Cuomo’s decision to heed their call and institute a ban (albeit not a permanent one) on fracking.

But, as with so many things in Albany, that was hardly the end of the story.

The anti-fracking community has turned its attention to a proposal to allow drilling with gelled propane rather than water in Tioga County, which proponents say is not specifically prohibited by the state’s ban.

They’re also opposed to the proliferation of natural gas pipeline projects at various stages of development across New York, which would bring fracked gas into and through the state from outside its borders.

Advocates are again planning on demonstrating outside the State of the State address this year, which is being combined for the second year running with the executive budget proposal. Both will be unveiled on Jan. 13.

In an email to fellow fracktivists, longtime organizer and Ithaca-based anti-drilling advocate Walter Hang, president of Toxics Targeting, urged a big turnout on speech day, writing: “It is imperative that we show our political strength on that day if we want to build on all our advocacy and organizing success to win major new victories in the coming year.”

Hang told protestors to get to the concourse early to stake out good protesting positions, bring as many signs and props as possible and be ready to “yell your heads off.” He reminded any potential protest attendees that they would have to clear security in order to access the plaza, which could be a time consuming process.

“If we can win these fights, it would have a cataclysmic impact on shale tracking and fossil fuel infrastructure across New York, Pennsylvania and the entire northeast,” Hang wrote. “We would set yet another critical environmental protection precedent that could be replicated coast-to-coast.”